John Malkovich Steals the Show in “Red 2”
“Red 2” was directed by, Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest & Fun With Dick and Jane). It stars, Bruce Willis (Frank Moses), John Malkovich (Marvin Boggs), Mary-Louise Parker (Sarah Ross), Helen Mirren (Victoria), Anthony Hopkins (Edward Bailey), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Katja) and Byung-Hun Lee (Han Cho Bai). It has a runtime of 1 Hour and 56 minutes and is rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and or some language and drug material.
“Red 2” is the second film adaptation of the sleeper hit based on a DC comic. The premise for this movie is that the team of retired operatives is reunited through a series of dangerous plans set in motion by internet “chatter” about a secret nuclear weapon. This causes all branches of international governments to send their best assassins out to collect the bounty on the heads of, Marvin (Malkovich) and, Frank (Willis). Their only chance of survival is to find the weapon and clear their names. Sounds easy enough, right?
All heck breaks loose when, Frank’s small-town Kansas girlfriend, Sarah (Parker) meets an old flame of, Frank’s. The friction that is caused between, Sarah and Katja (Zeta-Jones) leads to some of the most creative and over the top cat fighting that you have ever seen. There is one great scene where a pursuit breaks out and, Frank and, Katja are forced to go together while, Marvin and Sarah are left as team b. As opposed to gunning down the bad guy, the ladies become more driven to show the other up. The tension between the girls leads to some excellent comedic banter and an incredibly awkward interrogation scene.
John Malkovich steals the show in this movie. His character, Marvin is a paranoid ex-military assassin that has undergone years of chemical research and testing with LSD dosing. He was my favorite character in the first movie, but he was definitely bumped to center stage in this one. Throughout the course of the movie you will see, Malkovich fake his own funeral, almost detonate a nuclear weapon, eat a 30-year-old Moon Pie and constantly give, Frank dating advice. Every time that his character speaks, it is worth paying attention. His dialog, delivery and mannerisms are hilarious. Even when it is not his turn to speak on screen, check out the faces he is making. I firmly believe that he is certifiably crazy at times.
Aside from being a great comedy, “Red 2” is also a terrific action movie. One of the hitmen that is assigned to kill, Marvin and, Frank is, Han (Lee). He is a lightning fast assassin that is just as skilled with his hands and feet as he is with his truck-mounted Gatling gun. All of the characters in this movie have some form of history with each other. It is implied that, Han and, Frank had worked together in the past and, Han was wronged in some way. Frank hijacks, Han’s personal jet at one point and this really makes him angry beyond belief. The fight scenes that have, Han in them are very fun to watch. It was almost like the first time you saw, Jet Li in “Lethal Weapon 4” and were just mesmerized by his unparalleled skills. I am not sure how much of it was just camera tricks, but that guy is fast and nothing is cooler to see in an action movie than a good ol’ martial arts fight. Am I right?
I really feel that this is a movie that can be enjoyed by a lot of people. If you are into films based on comic books, here is a good one to see. Maybe you like a good action film. Perhaps the chemistry of a classic “buddy cop” movie does it for you. You could even just be that person that will watch anything with, Bruce Willis in it, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. “Red 2” is four hours worth of thrills packed into two. The only real downside to the movie was that there was almost too much going on. This made it a little hard to keep up at times. I would be processing one scene while another one was already under way. At the same time, that is the essence of a comic book after all.
I actually like this series of movies quite a bit. This one is just as good, if not better than the original. A solid 4 out of 5 popped kernels.